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RFID Raises Elevator Efficiency

At Capital Bank Plaza, in Raleigh, N.C., Schindler's PORT solution employs passive 13.56 MHz tags and readers to reduce elevator traffic flow and office workers' wait times.
By Claire Swedberg
Oct 05, 2011Since last month, the 300 employees working at the Capital Bank Plaza office building in Raleigh, N.C., have been using RFID-enabled identification cards to ride elevators. The system, implemented by the building's owner, Raleigh Development Co. (RDC), allows tenants' employees to summon an elevator car and be taken to the requested floor without having to press any buttons. The Personal Occupant Requirement Terminal (PORT) destination-dispatch elevator solution was provided by elevator company Schindler.

Every employee is issued a plastic credit-card-sized ID card containing an RFID tag. Upon presenting the card to one of the building's five RFID terminals, a person is assigned the elevator that could most efficiently transport him or her to the appropriate floor. As a result, says Don Carter, RDC's owner and principle, the system improves traffic flow throughout the 14-floor building, while also reducing wait times.

Elevator passengers use the PORT terminal's built-in RFID reader to summon a car to automatically take them to their customary floor.
When faced years ago with the need to replace electronics and controls on the building's 40-year-old elevators, Carter says he decided to research the latest technology available that could reduce wait times and make the elevators safer and more efficient, as well as consume less electricity. The building's elevator renovation project—which also includes video cameras mounted on each elevator, the ability to shut down specific floors during or after hours, and a regenerative drive to draw electricity from the lifts' movements—utilizes high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz passive RFID cards complying with the ISO 15693 standard, to identify a rider and automatically summon an elevator to take that person to his or her preferred floor.

Although RDC researched several solutions, the company selected Schindler's RFID-based system because the technology seemed more advanced than other offerings, says Nicole Saloio, Schindler's manager of destination products—and because it could, in the future, allow smartphone users to summon elevators via their mobile phone, using a Bluetooth connection. However, Saloio says, that function is not yet available.

The PORT system, which Schindler launched in the United States in September 2009, is designed to help an individual call for an elevator to a specific floor, and be directed to the car that can most efficiently carry that person to the requested destination. The system, Saloio says, knows where the passenger wants to go before the lift arrives.

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